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Middle school teachers' perceptions of cyberbullying

, University of Southern California, United States

University of Southern California . Awarded


The prevalence of digital technology amongst today's youth has expanded the ways in which they can interact with each other. One negative form of interaction that has emerged is cyberbullying, where youth bully each other through digital and online tools. While several studies have examined students' and preservice teachers' perceptions of cyberbullying, there is a critical gap in the research literature about inservice teachers' perceptions of cyberbullying. Thus, the aim of this exploratory research study was to investigate middle school teachers' knowledge of cyberbullying, their experiences managing cyberbullying, their concerns about and confidence to address cyberbullying, and their perceptions of their role in preventing and responding to cyberbullying. The study was conducted at a public middle school (6th–8th grade site) within a suburban school district in the Western region of the United States. A qualitative case study approach was employed. In-depth interviews were conducted with six middle school teachers and three school leaders at the middle school using semi-structured interview protocols. The data from the interviews was read and coded to identify the predominant themes. In addition, seven school/district policy documents were analyzed for their inclusion of cyberbullying-specific policies and procedures. The data from the teacher interviews, school leader interviews, and document analysis resulted in five key findings. First, teachers lack knowledge of the prevalence of cyberbullying on campus. Second, teachers lack knowledge of the school's procedure for handling cyberbullying. Third, teachers have had varied experiences managing cyberbullying. Fourth, teachers are more confident that they can identify cyberbullying than manage it. Lastly, teachers perceive themselves as having a definite role in preventing and responding to cyberbullying. Based on these findings, the following five recommendations for practice were made: conducting a school-wide cyberbullying assessment, providing cyberbullying professional development/training to teachers, developing a comprehensive cyberbullying procedure, including cyberbullying-specific policies in the school/district policy documents, and providing ongoing education about cyberbullying. Future research should be conducted about the impact of cyberbullying training/professional development on teachers' confidence to address cyberbullying and teacher practices as they pertain to educating students about cyberbullying. In addition, a comparative study should be conducted to examine the knowledge, perceptions, and experiences of teachers, students, school leaders, and parents in relation to one another.


Noah, T.O. Middle school teachers' perceptions of cyberbullying. Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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